Guys, Thanksgiving has come and gone! Can you believe it? Now, it’s full steam ahead towards the Christmas holiday. This is the time of year where we become heavily focused on finding the best deals so that we can snag amazing presents for our loved ones. Like the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Sadly, that is not the case for everyone.
Over the weekend, I did something wonderful that filled me with gratitude. I volunteered. I was invited by my friend Sharon to volunteer at Samaritans Purse, a humanitarian organization that provides aid to people in need. Their current project is called Operation Christmas Child and the goal is to provide small gift boxes to children in South Africa. I am a regular volunteer at my church and I serve in the kids ministry, so when I heard that volunteers were needed to help impoverished children receive gifts for the holidays, I jumped at the opportunity.
The gift boxes were no bigger than a shoe box, and they were filled with wonderful items that were all donated from people in the community. These were items that we take for granted on a daily basis. Soap, washcloths, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, pencils, pajamas, socks, toys and stuffed animals were some of the items in each gift box. The boxes also included hand written notes and cards, encouraging the child who received the gift box to never gift up hope. Volunteering is a great way to give back, but it also has benefits for you too.
Here are my top 5 reasons why you should give volunteering a try.
SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT:
Volunteering can provide a huge sense of accomplishment. Giving of yourself and your time, to help a cause, organization or families in need is sure to lift your spirits and make you feel like you have done something wonderful! Giving back feels good and if you have never done it, it’s something that you have to experience at least once in your lifetime.
PUTS THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
As humans, we can get caught up in our every day lives, and often complain about things that other people are praying for. While preparing the gift boxes for the children, it made me reflect on my own life and it ignited a sense of gratitude in me. These children were receiving spoons and toothpaste as gifts. How blessed are we to be able to go to a store and purchase our toiletries in abundance. These children don’t have that luxury.
LOOKS GREAT ON YOUR RESUME
If you’re looking for a new job, having volunteer work on your resume will surely make that piece of paper more attractive. It shows the employer that you are hard working, dedicated, kind and that you care about what is going on in the world and your community.
When you serve as a volunteer, you are doing so in support of something-a cause or organization. You are essentially helping someone else and that feels great. It is very rewarding to do nice things for others.
LEARN A NEW SKILL
While volunteering with Samaritans Purse, I learned what items cannot be shipped overseas and also how to pack large boxes that were being transported on a ship. At my church, while volunteering with the kids ministry, I have learned how to create lesson plans for the children that I take care of. It is exceptionally rewarding. You can learn new things, gather a new perspective and it can relieve you from the monotonous life that we sometimes live.
This holiday season, I encourage you to volunteer. There are so many ways that you can give back. You can start at your local church, women and children’s shelters and even soup kitchens. This holiday season while you plan your holiday parties, and continue to shop for the best gifts, please take a moment to think of those that are less fortunate.
Crest toothpaste, dental floss, bubblegum and a brush. We don’t even think twice about these items, but the child that receives this box will be filled with joy!
This box was one of my favorites. I wanted it for myself! How cute are these little gifts? I loved the yellow stuffed animal and little Elmo in the corner.
Each box was carefully inspected for non perishable items. After the inspection, they were filled with more toys if the box had enough room. The goal was to make sure that each box was full to capacity with goodies for the children.
Labels were placed on each box to indicate whether the gift was for a boy or girl, and it also included the age range for the child.
Hundreds of these large boxes were stuffed with gift boxes and ready to be shipped!
I was unable to capture how huge this warehouse really is! I needed an aerial view. This picture captures the hard work and dedicated souls that came out for a good cause.
This is a wall in the warehouse that shows the children in South Africa who received presents last Christmas. I look forward to volunteering for this cause again!